Perhaps I am the only person who has not fallen in love with Beautiful Ruins. The basic premise is that our lives and in fact, each of us, are/is a beautiful ruin. We lurch through our lives which comprise chaos, creativity and achievement, loss and sorrow. In this story the personal ruins are played out against the beautiful ruins represented by Italy following WWII. The story involves so many characters anchored by an unlikely premise: Richard Burton has an illegitimate son -- and never knows he has a son. We follow the life of his
lover through many and not so interesting permutations. It is never really clear why she never told her troubled son about his parentage. The other characters are cardboard characters introduced to fill out the story. This was tedious.
I could not stop listening. The story is beautiful and the performance just enhances the beauty of the story. This is my second ever audible book, and I cannot imagine a book that compares to this one.
Jess Walter's novel is a witty, worldly comedy drama which captures the texture and flavor of celebrity, ambition, love & fantasy from the Liz/Dick Cleopatra launch mid-century in Italy to present day Hollywood, Edinborough, Portland & Seattle-- claims of fame, fortune and folly. Life stories. The twists & turns of outrageous fortune and every-day life. It reads like the inside scoop of a true story.
Edoardo Ballerini's performance is nothing less than phenomeal. Great with accents, nuances, tone of voice. Spot-on interpretation of the text. Funny, tender, ironic, genuine. His voice is perfect for a wide variety of characters. Thoroughly enjoyable! Could be a poster child for audio books.
I really enjoyed listening to this book. The story was good to excellent and the narration was excellent with just the right Italian accent. The only reason I gave it 4 stars overall is that the story was a little predictable in a few places. The characters were interesting and the way the author and narrator moved the listener between 1962 and today was well done. This was a very satisfying listen.
I loved the part where the listener gets to know Pasquale as he tries to improve his life by building a tennis court on a rocky cliff.
This narrator was able to quickly go from perfect English, without an accent, to speaking Italian to speaking English with an Italian accent. It gave each character his/her own voice. Very well done.
Richard Burton. What 60+ year old woman wouldn't want to have dinner with Sir Richard?
The story line was very intriguing but after 3/4 of the book it was lost and never came back around. The story ended with a fizzle and no satisfaction.
The narrator was excellent, with his Italian accent for his Italian lines he sounded very sexy and with the English lines he sounded like Alec Baldwin so it was a delight on the ears.
I do now know why people enjoy this book. I found the characters vapid, depressing, rutterless -and pointless. I almost gave up after a few chapters, but the story got interesting in Italy, but then (slight spoiler) you learn the son is a complete waste, and I just couldn't bear it anymore. Why would I want to spend my time on these people?
I did enjoy listening to Pasqual and Dee while they were walking the cliffs and in the cave.
When books rate this high, I am usually in the pack of readers who loved it. I also love historical fiction and learning about new places. This book was such a wasted opportunity.
It was so easy to get lost in to the story, so well put, and well done - I visited a whole new world when listening to Beautiful Ruins.
He did a wonderful job, I would say definitely a very fitting voice talent for this book.
Worth The Listen!
I am the worst at writing reviews, but I want to tell you that this story is lovely. Please listen :)
Simply stated this book is beautifully written, and it's wonderful descriptive style lends itself especially well to the audio format. The narration was perfect - I was drawn in by the narrator's voice, and listening was a joy. I loved it so much I want to own the actual book now!
Although at times the story moved a little slowly, it was always for a reason. I particularly like the use of "time travel" in a story, going back and forth seems to allow a special perspective, a slow but meaningful story development that keeps the reader's mind engaged and wondering about the next step in the story.
A lovely story, beautifully narrated - I just don't think you can go wrong with this one. I raved about it to friends before I was even finished listening.